Valdosta seems serious about finally opening its new force main and uphill Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant: they’re scheduling a ribbon cutting for May, a year ahead of the original schedule. According to both City Council Tim Carroll and Engineering Assistant Director Emily Davenport, the EPA has already pressure-tested the relevant lines and the plant, and approved them.
People downstream are rightly concerned at the many years they’ve endured wastewater from Valdosta. And recent schedule slips haven’t helped their perceptions, which is why actually holding that ribbon cutting and getting those new facilities online in May will be a really good thing.
- Back in March 2016 at the meeting Valdosta held for concerned parties, multiple people remember the dates said were January 2016 for force main and WWTP.
- When WWALS board member Chris Mericle got an update in September 2015, we were told “Both projects are tracking a timeline to be complete and online around February 2016”.
- And Valdosta Utilities’ online schedule still says July 2016 for the force main and August 2017 for the WWTP.
- Yet the detailed report about Valdosta’s early-April spills said both projects would start up in May.
And today Valdosta staff and a Council member not only say May, but also that a ribbon-cutting is being planned for that month. Which is next month. Which is a year ahead of the original schedule.
Also remember you can always call Valdosta Public Relations Director Sementha Matthews at 229-259-3548. And the recent reports from Valdosta say at the bottom:
For more information, contact the Utilities Department Environmental Manager Scott Fowler at 229-259-3592 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have a call in to Fowler for more information.
Meanwhile, this may have set off some people downstream: DOH Hamilton Advises Hamilton County Residents of Local Private Well Water Contamination, 15 April 2016,
HAMILTON COUNTY—The Florida Department of Health in Hamilton County (DOH-Hamilton) is advising residents with homes near or along the Withlacoochee River of confirmed private well water contamination in the area. DOH-Hamilton is recommending residents and homeowners who notice any change in the color of their well water to contact the health department to arrange to receive a well water sample kit.
Yet on the same Hamilton County, Florida Department of Health website says:
Withlacoochee River Water Meets Water Quality Standards
The Florida Department of Health in Hamilton and Madison Counties have lifted a precautionary health advisory issued on February 5. Recent river water samples taken by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection indicate the river water meets surface quality standards ensuring the public they may resume water-related activities.
I have left a message with FDOH Hamilton County for clarification, but the plain reading of the two items would indicate that Withlacoochee River was clean when some wells were found to be contaminated.